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Becoming a Driving Instructor in New South Wales: Understanding the Driving Instructors Regulation 2016

If you’re considering a career as a driving instructor in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, it’s essential to understand the legal framework that governs this profession. The Driving Instructors Regulation 2016 sets out the rules and requirements for becoming and operating as a driving instructor in NSW. This article provides a comprehensive overview of these regulations in plain English, including qualifications, licensing, ethical standards, and ongoing compliance, to help you navigate the process successfully.

Overview of the Driving Instructors Regulation 2016

The Driving Instructors Regulation 2016 is a crucial piece of legislation under the Driving Instructors Act 1992 No 3. It outlines the specific requirements and conditions that individuals must meet to become licensed driving instructors. This regulation ensures that driving instructors possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and professionalism to teach learner drivers effectively and safely.

Key Requirements for Becoming a Driving Instructor

  1. Minimum Age and Driving Experience:
    • Applicants must be at least 21 years old.
    • They must have held a full, unrestricted Australian driver’s licence for at least three years in the last four years before applying.
  2. Qualifications and Training:
    • Prospective driving instructors must complete a TLI41222 – Certificate IV in Motor Vehicle Driver Training (release 2) or an equivalent qualification.
    • This training covers essential teaching techniques, road safety knowledge, and driving skills.
  3. Fit and Proper Person Assessment:
    • Applicants must pass a ‘fit and proper person’ assessment, which involves a thorough background check.
    • This includes criminal history checks, driving record assessments, and ensuring the applicant has no outstanding fines or serious traffic offences.
  4. Medical Fitness:
    • Applicants must provide a medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner certifying that they are medically fit to drive and instruct.
  5. Public Liability Insurance:
    • Driving instructors must have adequate public liability insurance to cover any potential claims arising from their instructional activities.

Licensing Process

The process to become a licensed driving instructor in NSW involves several steps:

  1. Application Submission:
    • Applicants must complete and submit the Driving Instructor’s Licence application form available from the Service NSW website or centres.
    • The form requires detailed personal information, proof of qualifications, and supporting documents, including a medical certificate and proof of insurance.
  2. Payment of Fees:
    • A non-refundable application fee must be paid when submitting the application. This fee covers the cost of processing the application and conducting background checks.
  3. Assessment and Approval:
    • Once the application is submitted, it undergoes a thorough review process.
    • If the application meets all requirements, the applicant may be invited for an interview or further assessment to confirm their suitability.
  4. Issuance of Licence:
    • Upon successful completion of all assessments, a driving instructor’s licence is issued.
    • This licence must be renewed periodically, typically every three years, with the renewal process requiring updated documentation and fees.

Compliance and Ethical Standards

Licensed driving instructors in NSW must adhere to strict compliance and ethical standards as outlined in the Driving Instructors Regulation 2016 and other relevant legislation.

  1. Adherence to Curriculum:
    • Instructors must follow the approved curriculum and teaching methods to ensure consistency and quality in driver education.
    • This includes covering essential topics such as road rules, hazard perception, and defensive driving techniques.
  2. Record Keeping:
    • Instructors are required to maintain accurate and detailed records of each lesson, including the learner’s progress, topics covered, and any assessments conducted.
    • These records must be kept for a specified period and made available for inspection if required by authorities.
  3. Code of Conduct:
    • The regulation mandates that instructors conduct themselves professionally and ethically at all times.
    • This includes being punctual, prepared, and respectful towards learners, avoiding any form of discrimination or harassment, and providing honest and constructive feedback.
  4. Vehicle Standards:
    • Instruction vehicles must meet specific safety and operational standards, including being fitted with dual controls.
    • Regular maintenance and safety checks are required to ensure the vehicles are in optimal condition.
  5. Insurance and Financial Responsibilities:
    • Instructors must maintain adequate public liability insurance to protect against potential claims.
    • They are also responsible for managing their business finances and ensuring compliance with tax and financial regulations.

Continuing Professional Development

To maintain their licence, driving instructors must engage in ongoing professional development. This ensures they stay updated with changes in road rules, teaching techniques, and vehicle technology. Professional development can include:

  1. Attending Workshops and Seminars:
    • Regularly attending industry workshops, seminars, and training sessions helps instructors stay current with best practices and regulatory changes.
  2. Online Courses and Resources:
    • Various online courses and resources are available to help instructors enhance their skills and knowledge.
  3. Networking and Industry Associations:
    • Joining professional associations and networking with other instructors can provide valuable insights and support.

Relevant Legislation and Additional Requirements

In addition to the Driving Instructors Regulation 2016, several other pieces of legislation and requirements are relevant to driving instructors in NSW:

  1. Driving Instructors Act 1992:
    • This Act provides the overarching legal framework for the regulation of driving instructors, including licensing, conduct, and enforcement provisions.
  2. Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulation 2017:
    • This regulation outlines the requirements for driver licensing in NSW, including the process for obtaining and renewing a driver’s licence.
  3. Work Health and Safety Act 2011:
    • Instructors must comply with workplace health and safety requirements to ensure a safe environment for themselves and their students.
  4. Anti-Discrimination Legislation:
    • Instructors must adhere to anti-discrimination laws, ensuring fair and equal treatment for all students regardless of their background.

Challenges and Rewards of the Profession

Becoming a driving instructor can be both challenging and rewarding. Some challenges include:

  1. Dealing with Nervous Learners:
    • Helping anxious or nervous learners gain confidence can be demanding, requiring patience and effective communication skills.
  2. Staying Updated with Regulations:
    • Keeping up with changes in road rules and regulations is essential but can be time-consuming.
  3. Maintaining Vehicle Standards:
    • Regular vehicle maintenance and ensuring compliance with safety standards can be costly and time-consuming.

However, the profession also offers significant rewards:

  1. Making a Difference:
    • Instructors have the opportunity to make a positive impact on their students’ lives by helping them become safe and competent drivers.
  2. Job Flexibility:
    • Driving instructors often have flexible working hours and the ability to be their own bosses.
  3. Continuous Learning:
    • The profession offers opportunities for continuous learning and professional growth.


The Driving Instructors Regulation 2016 sets out the essential requirements and standards for becoming a driving instructor in New South Wales. By understanding and adhering to these regulations, prospective instructors can ensure they are well-prepared to provide high-quality driver education. The journey to becoming a licensed driving instructor involves meeting specific qualifications, undergoing rigorous assessments, and maintaining ongoing compliance with ethical and professional standards. Despite the challenges, the profession offers numerous rewards, including the satisfaction of contributing to road safety and the personal development of new drivers. If you are committed to teaching and passionate about road safety, a career as a driving instructor in NSW can be both fulfilling and impactful.

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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